Wondering when your baby can sleep with a blanket? The advice on safe sleep is pretty clear – best to wait until after their first birthday. Let’s find out why.
Every mama wants to make sure that her baby is cozy while they’re snoozing.
But you don’t have to do too much research into safe sleep before you find out that there are some serious concerns about babies and blankets.
So when can a baby sleep with a blanket? And while you’re waiting, how are you supposed to make sure that they don’t get cold?
In this article: 📝
- When is it safe for babies to sleep with a blanket?
- Can a 1-year-old sleep with a blanket?
- Can an 18-month-old sleep with a blanket?
- How to safely use a blanket in a crib
- What can you use instead of a blanket?
When is it safe for babies to sleep with a blanket?
Why do you need to wait so long before putting a blanket in the crib?
Because putting any loose items – blankets, pillows, baby nests, sleep positioners, cuddly toys, bumpers – in a crib increases the risk of suffocation and SIDS.
Sidebar: what is SIDS?
SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, one of the most common and least understood causes of baby death.
While it’s scary for new parents to read about, it’s important to know the risk factors.
And it’s reassuring to know that the advice is really effective.
Since more organizations have been publicizing safe sleeping advice (such as putting your baby to sleep on their back, and sharing a room for the first 6–12 months), the rates of SIDS have come down a lot.
The risk of SIDS drops significantly once a baby is six months old.
By 12 months, the chances are very, very small.
So, after that point, it’s considered safe to start introducing blankets to your little one’s bed.
Can a 1-year-old sleep with a blanket?
Yes, according to the AAP, one-year-olds can sleep with blankets.
Just remember, it’s still best to choose a light blanket that’s the right size for the crib and doesn’t have any buttons or ribbons that your little one could get hold of.
Can an 18-month-old sleep with a blanket?
Absolutely! You should still save pillows for when they transition into a big bed, but blankets are fine for newly minted toddlers.
Just follow these golden rules:
How to safely use a blanket in a crib
- Use a blanket that’s big enough to reach the sides of the mattress, but not so big that it covers the whole bed
- Tuck the blanket in around the edges of the mattress
- Only pull the blanket up as far as your baby’s chest
- Avoid weighted blankets designed for older children
What can you use instead of a blanket?
In the first 12 blanket-free months of your little one’s life, they’re going to go through a few colder months.
So, how are you supposed to keep them warm if blankets are off-limits?
For very young babies, swaddling your baby in a thin blanket is considered much safer than using loose blankets.
It might even make them sleep better since it stops their newborn startle reflex from jolting them awake.
When they’re too old to swaddle, you can get sleep sacks or wearable blankets to keep them warm and safe.
You’ll probably have to be careful that your baby doesn’t overheat – make sure that they’re dressed lightly inside the sleep sack.
Plus, choose a thinner sack for summer and a thicker one for winter.
You should also plan to buy several sleep sacks over the first year, to make sure that they fit your baby and they can’t wriggle down through the neck.
Finally, you can just dress your baby in layers.
The ideal sleeping temperature for babies is around 68°F (20°C), and it’s a good rule of thumb to dress them in one more layer than you would have at that temperature.
➡️ Find out more here: How to Dress Baby for Sleep
Wishing all of you a good night’s sleep!
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